March 27, 2012 — Naxos is set to release four recordings in March illustrating the breadth and depth of Gerard Schwarz’s tenure as music director of the Seattle Symphony.
The partnership between Schwarz and the Seattle Symphony resulted in over 140 recordings, 49 of which will be released by Naxos in 2012.
The albums include works by 54 composers ranging from the Baroque to contemporary periods.
A prolific recording artist, Schwarz’s total discography numbers more than 329.
The quartet of CD releases in March highlights four distinctive features of Schwarz’s musical leadership when he was at the helm of the Seattle Symphony: his championing of American composers; casting fresh light on the classics; showcasing unfamiliar as well as famous works of leading composers; and nurturing virtuosity and refined ensemble playing within the orchestra.
Stephen Albert: In Concordiam • TreeStone
Naxos 8559708; UPC 636943970829 CD; US SRP $9.99
Stephen Albert, once a protégée of Leonard Bernstein and composer–in–residence for the Seattle Symphony for 3 years, is represented with two works: TreeStone, inspired by Joyce’s Finnegan Wake, and In Concordiam, a work revised and completed during Albert’s tenure in Seattle.
An accomplished pioneer of “The New Romanticism,” a generation of composers seeking to reclaim some of the emotional expression lost through the rigors of intellectual Modernism in music, Albert died in a tragic automobile accident at the age of 51.
Johann Sebastian Bach: Orchestral Transcriptions by Respighi and Elgar
Tre Corali (Three Chorale Preludes) • Sonata in E minor, BWV 1023 • Prelude and Fugue in D major, BWV 532 • Passacaglia and Fugue in C minor, BWV 582 • Fantasia and Fugue in C minor, BWV 537
Naxos 8572741; UPC 747313274178 CD; US SRP $9.99
The brilliance of Johann Sebastian Bach’s music has inspired many composers to arrange or transcribe his works for other instruments.
The Bach transcriptions by Ottorini Respighi and Edward Elgar are not as well known as those of other composers and even more rarely recorded.
This disc features the Respighi’s settings of the Violin Sonata in E minor, here set for organ and strings rather than the original continuo; Three Choral Preludes; Prelude and Fugue in D major and Passacaglia and Fugue in C minor.
Elgar’s version of the Fugue in C minor was completed shortly after the death of his wife and performed with great success at Queen’s Hall in London.
A year later, Elgar added the Fantasia conducted by the composer himself at the Gloucester Festival.
Aaron Copland: Rodeo • Billy the Kid • Piano Concerto (Lorin Hollander)
Naxos 8571202; UPC 747313120277 CD; US SRP $9.99
Schwarz has often curated subscription programs to showcase the less well known works of great composers.
On this Copland disc, Schwarz and the Seattle Symphony contrast excerpts from two of Copland’s most vibrant and tuneful works – Rodeo and Billy the Kid – with the rarely heard Piano Concerto.
Initially panned by critics in 1926, Copland’s Piano Concerto caused uproar at its premiere but was revived in reputation by Leonard Bernstein in 1946.
Lorin Hollander, who made his Carnegie Hall debut at age 11 and has had a five decade soloist career, is featured on this recording.
Reviewing live performances of the Piano Concerto in Seattle in 1996, critic Melinda Bargreen praised his playing commenting on Hollander’s “…clean and accurate arpeggios, powerful octaves and delicate musical fil! igree adorning the score’s many exotic harmonies.”
Béla Bartók: Miraculous Mandarin • Concerto for Orchestra
Naxos 8571201; UPC 747313120178 CD; US SRP $9.99
Bartók’s final stage work, The Miraculous Mandarin, banned after the first performance in 1926, joins one of the composer’s best known and accessible works, Concerto for Orchestra on this March release.
The Concerto showcases the superb soloists of the Seattle Symphony, and demonstrates the orchestra’s great range of expression and nuance.
Over his many years in Seattle, Schwarz became known for his Bartók performances, offering audiences a chance to experience the virtuosity of the Seattle Symphony.
The conductor returns to Seattle this coming May for a revival of the spectacular semi-staged production of Bartók’s Bluebeard’s Castle with illuminated glass installations by the renowned artist Dale Chihuly.
Internationally recognized for his moving performances, innovative programming and extensive catalogue of recordings, Gerard Schwarz serves as music director of the Eastern Music Festival and Conductor Laureate of the Seattle Symphony.
He is a renowned interpreter of 19th Century German, Austrian and Russian repertoire, in addition to contemporary American works.
Maestro Schwarz recently completed his final season as music director of the Seattle Symphony after an acclaimed 26 years – a period of dramatic artistic growth for the ensemble.
The conductor began his professional career as co-principal trumpet of the New York Philharmonic and has held leadership positions with Mostly Mozart Festival, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra and New York Chamber Symphony.
As a guest conductor in both opera and symphonic repertoire, he has worked with many of the world’s finest orchestras and opera companies.
In his nearly five decades as a respected classical musician and conductor, Schwarz has received hundreds of honors and accolades including Emmy Awards, Grammy nominations, ASCAP Awards and the Ditson Conductor’s Award.
He was the first American named Conductor of the Year by Musical America and has received numerous honorary doctorates.
Most recently, the City of Seattle named the street alongside Benaroya Hall “Gerard Schwarz Place.”
Schwarz’s pioneering cycles of American symphonists have received high critical praise, as have his acclaimed series of Stravinsky ballets, symphony cycles of Robert Schumann, Gustav Mahler and Dmitri Shostakovich, and orchestral works of Richard Wagner, Richard Strauss and Rimsky-Korsakov.
In addition to his numerous recordings with the Seattle Symphony, he has also recorded with the Berlin Radio Symphony, Czech Philharmonic, English Chamber Orchestra, Juilliard Orchestra, London Symphony, Los Angeles Chamber Symphony, New York Chamber Orchestra, Orchestra National de France, Philadelphia Orchestra, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and the Tokyo Philharmonic.
Gerard Schwarz Press and Media Relations Contact
Naxos Press and Media Relations Contact
Raymond Bisha, Director of Media Relations
Kelly Rach, National Publicist
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